No. 11 ECU Baseball sweeps doubleheader at Houston
No. 11 ECU completed a doubleheader sweep of Houston (15-3, 3-1) to clinch its third-straight series win in American Athletic Conference action Saturday at Schroeder Field. With the two wins, the Pirates improve to 24-7 overall and 8-1 in league play while the Cougars fall to 17-15 and 3-6. The series win marks the first for the Pirates between the two clubs since 2016 (in Greenville) and the first in Houston since 2011.
Trailing 1-0 in the second game of the day, ECU scored a pair of runs in the seventh inning taking a 2-1 lead. Jake Washer tied the game at one-all with a one-out home run to left field for his sixth of the season. Brady Lloyd followed with a single up the middle and moved to second on Seth Caddell’s ground out. Ryder Giles drove in the game-winning run with a single to left scoring Lloyd from second for a one-run advantage.
Evan Voliva (4-1) earned the win in relief working 1.1 scoreless frames where he allowed a hit, walked one and fanned three. Starter Jake Kuchmaner surrendered one run (earned) on four hits while walking one and striking out seven in 5.1 innings. Alec Burleson notched his third save of the year with 2.1 scoreless frames where he gave up a hit, walked on and punched out four.
Clay Aguilar (2-3) suffered the loss giving up a pair of runs (both earned) on five hits while striking out a career-high nine batters in 6.2 innings. Devon Roedahl allowed a run (earned) on two hits with one walk and one strikeout in 2.1 relief frames.
Houston jumped out to an early 1-0 lead behind Joe Davis’ solo blast to left field with two outs in the bottom of the first.
Spencer Brickhouse gave the Pirates a two-run cushion in the eight singling home Turner Brown from second with a shot to up the middle capping the scoring and securing the Pirates third-straight conference series win.
Seven different Pirates registered a hit in the contest, while Brickhouse, Giles and Washer combined to drive in all three ECU runs. The Cougar trio of Derrick Cherry, Davis and Rey Fuentes III each tallied two hits combining for all six base knocks in the contest.
Game One Recap
After having a lackluster offensive approach in Game One of the series where ECU dropped a 2-0 contest to Houston, the Pirates erupted for 15 runs on 14 hits to take the first game of the doubleheader Saturday, 15-3.
ECU wasted little time getting on the board scoring three runs in the top of the first for a 3-0 advantage. With one out and Lane Hoover standing on first, Brickhouse blasted a two-run shot to right-center for his seventh homer of the season. Burleson followed with a double down the left field line and Brown’s single put runners on the corners for Thomas Francisco, who reached on an error where Burleson scored extending the lead to three.
Tyler Smith (4-0) picked up the win allowing two runs (both earned) on five hits with a pair of walks and five strikeouts in five innings of work. Gavin Williams surrendered a run (unearned) with two strikeouts in three innings, while Evan Odum tossed a clean ninth.
Ryan Randel (2-2) took the loss after allowing four runs (three earned) on four hits with two walks in one-plus inning. The Cougars used five relievers out of the pen getting outings from Sean Bretz (2.2 IP, 2 Hs, 2 BBs, 3 Ks), Spencer Hynes (1.2 IP, 1 H, 2 Rs, 2 BBs, 2 Ks), Tristen Bayless (1.0 IP, 2 Hs, 4 Rs, 2 BBs), Carter Henry (1.2 IP, 4 Hs, 4 Rs, 2 Ks) and Bielamowicz (1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 2 BBs, 1 K).
The Pirates added to their lead in the second when Washer scored on Bryant Packard’s double-play ball for a 4-0 lead.
Lael Lockhart’s first home run of the season got the Cougars on the board in the fourth pulling within three, 4-1, on his opposite-field homer to left field.
The Cougars cut the lead to two, 4-2, in the fifth inning Tyler Bielamowicz’ double down the left field line scoring Johnathon Thomas, who reached on an infield single to start the frame. Thomas moved into scoring position on Blake Way’s sac bunt before coming around to score on Bielamowicz lone hit of the contest.
Brickhouse’s first career grand slam and second home run of the contest extended ECU’s led to six, 8-2, in the sixth inning. With one away, Giles, Packard, and Hoover drew three consecutive walks before they all scored on Brickhouse’s eighth homer of the season.
ECU kept the foot on the gas scoring two in the seventh, four in the eighth and one more in the ninth for a 15-3 lead. Washer’s two-run home run in the seventh pushed the lead to 10-2, but Houston responded with a run in the home half of the stanza on Jared Trilio’s sac fly to left making it a 10-3 ball game.
In the eighth, the Pirates got RBI from Brown (single), Barber (single), Washer (sac fly) and Giles (single) extending the lead to 14-3. Lloyd’s bases-loaded walk in the ninth capped the scoring for the ECU, 15-3.
Brown led a trio of Pirates with multiple hits in the first game going 4-for-6, while Brickhouse was 3-for-4 with six RBI and Washer was 2-for-4 with three RBI. In all, the Pirates tallied 14 hits and improve to 15-0 on the year when registering double-digit base knocks.
The Pirates will return to action on Tuesday, April 9 when they travel to in-state foe UNCW for a 6 p.m. midweek matchup.